Lipofectamine LTX® Reagent is a proprietary, animal-origin free formulation for the transfection of DNA into eukaryotic cells with low cytotoxicity. This reference provides a recommended procedure to transfect plasmid DNA into MDA-MB-231, human breast adenocarcinoma cells (ATCC No. HTB-26) using Lipofectamine LTX®  Reagent.

Important Guidelines for Transfection

Follow these important guidelines when transfecting MDA-MB-231 cells using Lipofectamine LTX® Reagent:

  • Maintain the same seeding conditions between experiments. Use low-passage cells; make sure cells are healthy and greater than 90% viable before transfection.
  • Transfection can be performed both in the presence or absence of serum. Test serum-free media for compatibility with Lipofectamine LTX® Reagent.
  • We recommend Opti-MEM® I Reduced Serum Medium (Cat. No. 31985-070) to dilute the DNA Lipofectamine LTX® Reagent before complexing.
  • Using PLUS™ Reagent (Cat. No. 11514-015) enhances transfection performance in MDA-MB-231 Cells.
  • Visit or contact Technical Services for other specialized transfection protocols.
  • Lipofectamine LTX® Reagent performs well with vector-based RNAi experiments. For siRNA and Stealth RNAi transfections, we recommend Lipofectamine RNAiMAX. Go to or contact Technical Service for more information.

Materials Needed

Have the following reagents on hand before beginning:

  • MDA-MB-231 cells maintained in Dulbecco's Modified Eagle Medium (DMEM) (Cat. No. 11960-044) supplemented with 4 mM L-Glutamine (Cat. No. 25030-081), 10% fetal bovine serum (Cat. No. 16000-044). Grow cells at 37o C with 5% CO2.
  • Plasmid DNA of interest.
  • Lipofectamine LTX® Reagent (store at +4oC until ready to use)
  • Opti-MEM® I Reduced Serum Media
  • Appropriate tissue culture plates and supplies.

Transfecting MDA-MB-231 Cells

Use this procedure to transfect plasmid DNA into MDA-MB-231 cells in a 24-well format (for other formats, see Scaling Up or Down Transfections, below). All amounts and volumes are given on a per well basis.

  1. The day before transfection, trypsinize and count the cells. Plate 1.25 x 105 cells per well in 0.5 ml of complete growth medium. Cell density should be 50-80% confluent on the day of transfection.
  2. (Optional) The day of transfection, remove growth medium from cells and replace with 0.5 ml of complete growth medium..
  3. For each well of cells to be transfected, dilute 0.5 μg of DNA in 100 μl of Opti-MEM® I Reduced Serum Media without serum..
  4. If using PLUS™ Reagent: Mix PLUS™ Reagent gently before use, then add 0.5 μl PLUS™ Reagent (a 1:1 ratio to DNA) directly to the diluted DNA. Mix gently and incubate 5-15 minutes at room temperature..
  5. For each well of cells, add 1.25-2.25 μl of Lipofectamine LTX® Reagent into the above diluted Opti-MEM®:DNA solution, mix gently and incubate 30 minutes at room temperature to form DNA- Lipofectamine LTX® Reagent complexes..
  6. After 30 minute incubation, add 100 μl of the DNA- Lipofectamine LTX® Reagent complexes directly to each well containing cells and mix gently by rocking the plate back and forth..
  7. Complexes do not have to be removed following transfection. Incubate the cells at 37oC in a CO2 incubator for 18-24 hours post-transfection before assaying for transgene expression.

Scaling Up or Down Transfections

Culture vessel Surface
area per
Volume plating medium Cells per well Volume
DNA Lipofectamine®
LTX Reagent
PLUS™ Reagent
96-well0.3 cm2100 μl2.5 x 10420 μl100 ng0.25 - 0.45 μl0.1 μl
48-well1 cm2200 μl5 x 10440 μl200 ng0.5 - 0.9 μl0.2 μl
24-well2 cm2500 μl1.25 x 105100 μl500 ng1.25 - 2.25  μl0.5 μl
12-well4 cm21 ml2.5 x 105200 μl1 μg2.5 - 4.5 μl1.0 μl
6-well10 cm2 2 ml6.25  x 105500 μl2.5 μg6.25 - 11.25 μl2.5 μl


25-0991W    17 Nov  2006